The mystery of Neal Brown continues to make every Kentucky fan refresh their Twitter page every minute. However, rumors swirl about the many positions being offered to Neal Brown including an unknown head coach position. With the confusing situation of Brown, there is little doubt that Mitch Barnhart and Coach Mark Stoops have developed a few backup plans if the current Texas Tech offensive coordinator decides to turn down a return to the Bluegrass.
Two rumored options are Chris Hatcher and Seth Litrell. Kyle Tucker of the Courier Journal mentioned the pass-crazy Hatcher on Twitter earlier today.
Chris Hatcher is the current head coach at D-II Murray State University. Coach Hatcher runs a similar “Air Raid” offense to the one Neal Brown has become successful with in Lubbock, Texas. He has turned his teams into a passing juggernaut wherever he goes. He led his alma mater Valdosta State to prominence with an elite passing attack at the D-II level. If Hatcher does become a front runner, it will be from Stoops’ hope that he can take Max Smith and Patrick Towles to a whole new level. The biggest question with Christ Hatcher would be recruiting. Recruiting at the SEC level is an entirely different game compared to the D-II level. One would think that a well-paid offensive coordinator job in the Southeastern conference would be enough to lure him away from his impressive rebuilding of Murray State football.
The other rumored option, Litrell, could be a bit harder to lure from his current job. He was a running back at Oklahoma and a H-back/TE coach of an Arizona offense that produced players like Rob Gronkowski and Nick Foles. Litrell is the current offensive coordinator at Indiana University. While Kentucky should be an upgrade over the Big Ten and lowly Indiana, Litrell has only been with the IU program for a year which had success by Hoosier football standards. He brings an electric passing attack like Hatcher and Brown, and his passing offense ranked 18th with an inexperienced sophomore quarterback going up against Big Ten talent.If Litrell can mentor a weakly talented Hoosier offense to 275 passing yards against undefeated Ohio State, there is a high ceiling for the benefits he could bring to a more talented Kentucky offense with quarterbacks full of potential. Let’s just hope he is not a fan of the bubble screen.
If the head coaching search has taught us anything, rumors are exactly what the definition of the word states, rumors. No one truly knows what is being said behind closed doors with Barnhart, Stoops, and maybe Tim Couch. However, all of the rumors do seem to point towards a desire of a air-oriented offense, which should delight the majority of Big Blue Nation. The whole trend of football points toward a pass-first offense being the strategy for success. All three of the coaches being rumored offer this type of offense. With success on the recruiting front, any of these coaches could offer an excellent balance to the highly-touted defense that the Kentucky faithful expect Head Coach Mark Stoops to lead into Commonwealth Stadium (And the SEC Championship by Stoops’ standards).